Compton Bay and Downs (NT)



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Compton Bay and Downs are at the heart of the open landscape of the south west of the Isle of Wight. There is plenty of space for families, surfing and other non-motorised water sports and a part of the beach is open to dog walkers all year round. The many-coloured cliffs behind the beach and the coastal views provide a wonderful backdrop as well as a fascinating geological history going back millions of years. Rising behind the coast there are great walking opportunities across acres of open downland with stunning views over West Wight. The Tennyson Trail traverses the top of the downland ridge and there are good links with the coast path and others. The area has been managed in the same way for generations with a herd of Galloway cattle. Much of the area has developed as it is without any tree cover from the end of the Ice Age, 10,000 years ago. This is due to its exposed position by the sea. Most other downs were covered with trees until they were gradually cleared from about 6,000 years ago by early farming communities.

Compton Bay and Downs (NT)
Compton, AFTON, PO30 4HB


About the area

Discover Isle of Wight

There’s a timeless quality to the Isle of Wight. For many it embodies the spirit and atmosphere of English seaside holidays. Small and intimate – at just 23 miles by 13 miles – it’s a great place to get away from it all. And with its mild climate, long hours of sunshine and colourful architecture, it has something of a continental flavour.

Explore the island’s varied coastline at any time of the year using the well-established Coast Path. Even in the depths of winter, the weather conditions are often favourable for walking. The island has more than 500 miles of public rights of way in all. There are numerous other things to do too. You could plan a week’s itinerary and not set foot on the beach. The island’s history is fascinating and it was long considered as a convenient stepping stone for the French in their plan to invade the UK mainland. Various fortifications – including Fort Victoria, Carisbrooke Castle and Yarmouth Castle – reflect its key strategic role in the defence of our coastline.

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